Of all the games ever played in a sporting competition, never has an event been so bizarre and yet so fitting for its historical moment: the 1968 Masters.
Anger gripped America's heart in April 1968. Vietnam and a bitter presidential contest sharpened the divides between races and generations, while protests and violence poisened the air. Then an assassin's bullet took the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cities burned.
The smoke had barely cleared when the Masters began.
Never was the country more ready for distraction and escape--but could the orderly annual excitement of Palmer versus Nicklaus provide it? For a while, it could and it did--except that instead of a duel between golf's superstars, several unlikely members of the chorus stepped forward with once-in-a-lifetime performances. There was blunt-talking Bob Goalby, a truck driver's son from Illinois and former star football player; loveable Roberto De Vicenzo from Argentina, who charmed the galleries and media all week; and Bert Yancey, a Floridian who'd dropped out of West Point to face his private demons of mental illness.
Just as the competition reached a thrilling crescendo, it all fell apart. The Masters, the best-run tournament in the world, devolved into a heart-wrenching tangle of rules, responsibility, and technicality. In a fascinating narrative that stops in Augusta, Buenos Aires, and Belleville, Illinois, bestselling author Curt Sampson finds the truth behind The Lost Masters. It's a story you'll never forget.
No one remembers the silver medalist, the second-place finisher, the runner-up. And no one remembers the first loser of the 1968 Masters Tournament. Sampson, a former touring golf pro and author of seven books, including the bestseller The Masters, hopes to change all that by retelling a story many people have forgotten and even more never knew. The '68 Masters was held under a cloud of war, racial tension and national mourning. The tournament began on April 11; eight days earlier, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, and he was buried in nearby Atlanta, Ga., two days before the tournament began at Augusta National. Anti-war sentiment pervaded the nation's conscience as Bob Goalby lined up for the first tee shot of the tournament. What followed was four days of competition and controversy. While the world watched and waited for one of the two favorites, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, to take the cup, three virtual unknowns-Roberto Devicenzo, Bob Goalby and Bert Yancy-staged their own three-way battle for the title. It was one of the tightest tournaments in the Masters' history, and its ending further solidified its place in the history books. When the final stroke was tallied, it was Devicenzo-Goalby, one-two. But in a scoring error on the 17th hole of the final day, it was discovered that Devicenzo's partner recorded a four instead of the three he actually shot, and more controversy ensued. A marvelous look at a compelling event, this book is a surefire pleasure for golf fans.